Born at Peyrins (Drôme), May 14, 1818.
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de Lumières, July 26, 1847.
Perpetual oblation at Everingham, November 1, 1851. (no. 283)
Died at Notre-Dame de Lumières, August 29, 1895.
Ferdinand Vernet was born at Peyrins in the diocese of Valence on May 14, 1818. He made his novitiate at Notre-Dame de Lumières where he entered on July 26, 1847. He left for England before his first oblation in 1848. In 1867, he wrote that Father F. Perron, who died on February 22, 1848 had been his first superior in England. In the September 4, 1850 session of the General Council, he was admitted to five-year vows for the following considerations: Admitted “Brother Vernet, a Frenchman from Valence, from the Everingham community. The brother finished long ago his first annual vows: good in character, energetic, faithful to his duties and a very useful person to have in this house. He would have been presented before this for his vows of five years, if he had not at the time been troubled by the desire to continue his studies, even though he is totally lacking in the ability and judgment necessary for the priesthood. Since he has weathered this trial, he has been admitted for this five-year vows.”
In the April 23, 1851 session of the General Council, he was admitted to perpetual vows. In his report of the session, the secretary general wrote: “Lay brother Vernet of the Everingham community (England) was admitted to perpetual vows as our Lord bishop, our most reverend Superior General has promised him last year when he was travelling through this community on his trip to England.” He made his perpetual oblation on November 1, 1851 in the presence of Father R. Cooke, the provincial.
About 1858, Brother Vernet received his obedience for the Glencree reformatory in Ireland where he remained, it seems, right up until 1882. This institution housed 230 young delinquents in 1863 and 315 in 1867 with 24 coadjutor brothers and a few priests, one of whom was director and the other treasurer, people whom the Brother judged harshly as being lacking in competence and with little concern for the life of the brothers. Brother Vernet was treasurer for a few years before 1868. In 1878, he wrote that for 23 years already, he was going about Ireland begging money for the house. In 1865, the inspector for prisons in Ireland, Mr. Murray, wrote in a report: “Saint Kevin’s reformatory, the oldest, the biggest and the most important of all the boys prisons was administered during the years 1863-1864 in a manner that gave me total satisfaction. The efforts of the director, Rev. Father Lynch have been unceasing to gain the cooperation of the public and he was very ably assisted by one of his confreres, Mr. Ferdinand Vernet. Indeed, it was due to the energetic initiatives of the latter that we must attribute the adoption by the council of Dublin of the measure which increased the money allocated to the Glencree reformatory and to others …” Missions O.M.I., 1865, p. 602) In 1877, Father Timothy Ryan, the director, wrote in turn: “Our building fund is growing, with the first class lay brothers, Vernet and Mahoney lending us a very effective and well appreciated assistance to achieve this objective.” (Missions O.M.I., 1877, p. 233)
From 1872 on, Brother Vernet wrote a few times to the General Administration asking to be recalled to France because of his bad health. In 1876, he was allowed to take treatment at the mineral spas of Val and in 1878, but he only returned definitively to France in 1882. According to a few of his letters, he was in residence at Sacred Heart at Autun in 1883 and 1884, at Diano Marina in 1885 and 1886 and at Notre-Dame de Lumières from 1887 on. That is where he died on August 29, 1895.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.